CNN Poll: Anger over taxes is on the rise
April 15th, 2011
08:45 AM ET
3 years ago

CNN Poll: Anger over taxes is on the rise

Washington (CNN) - Four in ten Americans are angry about the amount of federal income taxes that they paid last year, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey also indicates that nearly three-quarters of the public believes that the government wastes a lot of the tax dollars it collects.

Forty-percent of people questioned in the poll say they are angry about the amount of federal income taxes they paid last year, with 38 percent saying they were satisfied.

Full results (pdf)

"The 1980s have gone down in the history books as an era of high anti-tax sentiment, but the number who said back then that they were angry about their taxes was much lower than today," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "In 1985, 27 percent said they were angry about the taxes they paid, compared to four in ten today."

The survey also indicates that 73 percent say that a lot of the money they pay in taxes is wasted by people in the government, with another 23 percent saying some of their tax dollars are wasted, and only four percent saying that not much of what they pay in taxes is wasted by the government.

The poll's Friday release comes on April 15, the traditional deadline day for tax returns to be filed, but the Internal Revenue Service approved April 18 as the tax filing deadline for 2010 Tax Returns and extension requests, in observation of Emancipation Day in the District of Columbia.

Tea Party activists are holding rallies and demonstrations in locations across the country starting Friday. Many in the two year-old movement say that federal taxes are too high and that government spending needs to be severely reduced.

The poll indicates that by a 50-43 percent margin, the public says that the Tea Party movement has had a positive effect on the country.

"Polls taken earlier this spring indicate that unfavorable views of the Tea Party movement are growing, with almost half the public now holding an unfavorable opinion of the Tea Party," Holland says. "That suggest that Americans think the Tea Party had good ideas that initially produced a positive effect but now have taken those ideas a little too far."

As the deadline for filing federal income tax forms approaches, the poll gives some indications of the first faint stirrings of economic optimism.

The number of Americans who think the economy is starting to recover is still pretty low, but it is up 7 points since last October and has doubled since the start of last year. Roughly one in four Americans say that the economy has turned the corner; another 38 percent don't think a recovery has begun but believe that conditions have stabilized and are not getting any worse. And 36 percent think the economy is still in a downturn.

"That number has stubbornly remained in the mid-to-high 30's since the beginning of 2010," adds Holland. "Not surprisingly, Americans with higher incomes are more likely to think that a recovery is under way; economic optimism is also higher in cities and suburbs than in rural areas."

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted by telephone, with 824 people questioned. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: Polls
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. rs

    It is such a fascinating commentary on the right: they claim to be patriots; good, and moral; largely Christian, and yet whan it comes to paying for the wonders this country gives, they get cheap. Worse, they believe those who have benefitted the most should simply get a free pass. It is as if the think getting rich (and I don't think they care how) is a sybolic "win". A "win" that means you don't owe anybody anything or ever have to pay back- especially the system that made you rich in the first place. Instead- they seek to deny benefits to anyone who might want to join then through education. They seek to punish the poor, hurt the sick, and, yes, impoverish our elderly. Sick and twisted.

    It is greed. It is arrogance. It is un-patriotic. The Republican/Tea Party is a pox on America.

    April 15, 2011 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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